by: Ed Richter, Journal-News Updated:
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Frustration over the amount of money and public safety services being devoted to drug overdoses led to one Middletown, Ohio, city council member asking if it was possible for the city to not respond to such calls.
Saying the city needs to think outside the box, Middletown City Council member Dan Picard asked if it was possible for EMS to not respond to overdose calls.
Noting people with cancer don’t get free chemotherapy from medics, nor do people having heart attacks get a free heart bypass in an EMS run, Picard asked if there was a law that requires the city to respond to overdose calls.
The city is on pace to spend $100,000 for Narcan when it was budgeted $10,000 for the entire year, according to City Manager Doug Adkins.
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Adkins said the city could privatize EMS services, or not have them at all. He said he would seek an opinion from the city’s law department.
Picard, who recently told the Journal-News he is not running for re-election in the fall, suggested issuing a court summons to a person who overdoses and ordering them to complete community service to work off the costs of the EMS run and Narcan.
He said arresting those who overdose only adds more costs to city taxpayers and strains the city jail and court system.
According to Adkins, most of those who overdose are transients and are not residents of the city.
“I want to send a message to the world that you don’t want to come to Middletown to overdose because someone might not come with Narcan and save your life,” Picard said. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”
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